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Arnos Vale ranked among ‘best grounds in the world’

Arnos Vale ranked among ‘best grounds in the world’

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Tue, Apr 24. 2012

Editor: Following the huge success in staging three back-to-back One-Day Internationals between the West Indies and Australia, the picturesque Arnos Vale Sporting Complex in St Vincent has won further global plaudits in being voted among the top 15 grounds in the world to watch Test cricket.{{more}}

The acclaim has come in the latest edition (May 2012) of the prestigious monthly magazine, the “CRICKETER”. An international panel of 42 broadcasters, journalists, photographers and fans from 13 countries, was set up by the magazine to judge the “best 26 test venues across five continents, 13 countries and 24 cities”. Out of this wide dragnet, Arnos Vale, sometimes maligned by our own people, emerged in 12th place. This placed it above such world-famous venues as London’s Kennington Oval, huge and historic grounds in India such as the daunting Eden Gardens in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and the renowned Wankhede in Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

Among grounds in the Caribbean, only two received a higher rating than Arnos Vale: Barbados’ cherished Kensington Oval and the nostalgic Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG), home to the world-beating exploits of Sir Vivian Richards and Brian Lara. These were ranked in the top ten, in ninth and eighth places respectively. What a pity that the ARG has been replaced by the controversial stadium which sullied Viv Richards’ name and which is ranked among the”10 least attractive places to watch test cricket”! There was no room for Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval or Jamaica’s Sabina Park in the top 26. Not surprisingly, Britain’s Lord’s, considered in cricketing circles “the home of test cricket”, was ranked No. 1.

In publishing an accompanying photo of Arnos Vale, this is what the CRICKETER had to say:

“A picture-postcard snapshot of the Caribbean at its most intimate and inclusive. Snuggled between the airport, the sea, and the rustic hills, you can feel the tailwind as the planes take off towards the island of Bequia in the distance”.

Two comments are worthy of note. First, if only we learn to appreciate what we have as much as others seem to do. Secondly, given the construction of the Argyle International airport and the inevitable alternative uses on the Arnos Vale airport space, it is imperative that the developers take such intangibles as the current attractions of Arnos Vale in mind. Too many grounds, notably in India and Australia have lost their appeal in the mad rush to commercialize and create “modern” soulless money-making machines. Whatever is done in Arnos Vale must not destroy the intrinsic beauty and attractiveness of the Arnos Vale Complex.

Renwick Rose

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